So two weeks before my third marathon training was going well and I was getting a little excited about the prospect of a possible PB. Then after a busy week I took part in my favourite parkrun – Mile End and something just went in my right leg, just below my right butt cheek to be exact. It stopped me dead in my tracks and then the weeks following … well let’s just say things got a little dark.
Running came into my life two years ago, initially for health reasons, then as a type of therapy through a rough patch and then as a way of making friends. I ran everywhere, at varying speeds, for varying reasons, I even went on running holidays. It became a major part of my life and I loved it, as most my friends will tell you I am pants at sitting – films are tricky and I don’t really do “lying in” but when I got injured I couldn’t even walk without pain and it devastated me. In fact there was a point were I struggled to be around some of my incredible running friends because it was a harsh reminder of the fact I couldn’t do what I loved.
Alongside this I would be lying if said I didn’t also love running because I love to eat, particularly cake. My insatiable hunger is pretty impressive … but without being active … then what?!
16 weeks later this injury has led to me becoming an official Triathlete (more on this soon) !?!?!?! I can still feel a little unhappiness just under my right butt cheek from time to time but I am running (as well as lots of other things) and I have recently come to realise that injured runners go through a lot of the same emotions so I wanted to share my thoughts as I am slowly coming through the black hole that was.
1. Unfortunately about 99% of runners go through injury – an unfortunate but real fact. Luckily for most it isn’t the end of running, it’s just a break. Try and focus on the fact that you WILL recover and hopefully during your recovery you will have learnt more about how to become a stronger runner, preventing further or another completely different injury.
2. You might put on a bit of weight, you just might. But someone once said something to me that stuck (there is science in this but simply put short) If you get stressed about weight gain, well stress will help with nothing else but weight gain. So I am not saying don’t worry, carry on eating what you want just as if you were running those 20+ miles a week. I am just saying take this time to recover, your body needs food to encourage recovery, give it what it needs but just be a little more mindful. And remember DO NOT stress if you do have a cake – stress will not help, cake might ;D!
3. Look at other sports! A few weeks after the “tweak” happened I got fed up of commuting on the tube so I tried a Boris bike. I cycled more and more and then was lucky enough to borrow a friend’s bike and well things escalated from there on in ;D. I also found swimming. Initially I couldn’t use my legs properly so I used a pull buoy to do drills – I know, it was frustrating but it meant that I was getting a great upper body workout! Swimming, biking and gentle gym work became my release. Still not the same as a lovely long weekend run but at least a way of getting that buzz from finally being active!
4. Make sure you use those incredible people around you! Don’t be ashamed to admit that you are not coping and let them help. Referring back to my first point, if your friends are also runners (or at least sporty) it’s more than likely that they will have gone through a period of not being able to do what they love and can offer help and advice (and a cuddle, a good day/night out etc etc etc)
5. My final pointer. PATIENCE. It sucks, it really is pants having to rest and let your body to repair, particularly if you are used to being active but what also sucks is that yes it is more than likely that you will be slower and it will feel harder than it used to. BUT if nothing else think back to when you first started running and the satisfaction of when that slog of a run round your local park (or something to that effect) slowly became an enjoyable jog outside – you get to feel that all over again! ALL OVER AGAIN! Just keep being patient and things will get easier, you will get better, stronger!
So to anyone reading this who is injured I do hope this helps a little. Or maybe you are reading it thinking “how dramatic” – well yes I was over dramatic at times but it taught me a lot and hopefully me being honest about it means that if for any reason you get injured (which I wish on NO ONE) it means you won’t go down this route.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to my incredible friends, family and that Irish one for being nothing short of amazing (as always), I flippin’ love you lot.